January 14, 2020
Public Meeting Coming Soon:
We have heard from the CRMC that the public meeting to decide (for or against) the Segar Cove oyster farm proposal will be sometime between February and March of 2020. We don't yet have a specific date, but at least we have a possible window. Also, we expect that the meeting will be held somewhere in Providence, to better facilitate the attendance of the public and CRMC Council members. We may not get lots of advanced warning about the meeting date, so we're preparing now. You should be, too.
We believe that a strong public showing at that meeting gives us our best chance to defeat this proposal. A good turnout of citizens testifying to the conflict the proposed farm will create with existing and historical public uses of Segar Cove (skiing, tubing, paddleboarding, sailing, clamming, fishing, etc.) will help the members of the full CRMC committee see that an additional 3 acres of floating oyster cages (plus work barges, service boats, etc.) is incompatible with the continued pubic use and enjoyment of Segar Cove.
The meeting will offer members of the public the opportunity to give testimony about the proposed farm. Those who wrote in during the public comment period will be given the chance to speak and air their views. Additionally, the committee will take testimony from the legal team representing three abutting property owners, as well as from the engineering firm they retained to analyze the proposal. The applicant will also have the chance to present his side of the story. Afterwards, the full CRMC committee will decide, yay or nay, on the proposal.
New marker buoys placed on site
FYI, in case you're been on Segar Cove and have been wondering....a new set of orange buoys has been placed at the approximate location of the proposed new oyster farm. These floats are there per CRMC regulations marking the proposed site of an application that is still pending before the council.
The location and siting of the new buoys is approximate, at best. (Very little care was taken in their placement.) The actual dimensions of the submitted proposal may vary widely from the area demarcated by the current buoys. The pending proposal has not changed, nor has the location or acreage of the proposed farm, only the siting of the buoys. (I believe that last year's buoys more accurately represent the actual size and location of farm.)
We will keep you updated on any developments and/or changes to the application.
June 2019 Update: Still Waiting
Summer is here, finally! The weather is getting nice, the water is warming up, clammers are tuning up their rakes, and cinder worms are hatching bringing striped bass and plenty of fishermen into the pond. Best of all, Segar Cove remains free and open to the public, with no oyster farm to be seen. Even the orange buoys marking the proposed site are absent. :)
It's been over a year since the application for a new oyster farm on Segar Cove was filed and CRMC has not yet selected a date for the public meeting to review and decide the issue. Our current understanding, based on information from people close to the process, is that it may be months, at least, or even many months before a date is eventually picked, as a good deal of work remains to be done to prepare the Segar Cove application for public presentation, all while CRMC is busy dealing with the many issues related to the new offshore wind farms. So, while those wheels turn (wind blades spin?), we continue to wait....
Float-In Press Coverage
The Friday, Aug. 10, edition of the Narragansett Times had some great coverage of the July 28, 2018 Segar Cove Float-In. Written by the "Fish Wrap Writer," Todd Corayer, the story clearly and succinctly captures the issues at stake in our fight to keep Segar Cove farm-free. Plus, there's a great photo of the event! Click HERE to read the full story.
If you're interested in fish and fishing, I highly recommend Todd's blog, which is always chock-a-block full of useful and fascinating information: fishwrapwriter.com/
CRMC Meeting Date....October? November?
July 1, 2018: We've heard from the CRMC that the public meeting to consider and decide on the proposed Segar Cove oyster lease will not happen until at least mid-October, at the earliest. This is disappointing as it will certainly discourage a robust pubic showing at that important meeting, and risks disenfranchising seasonal and out of town users and stakeholders. When we get any more information about a possible specific date we'll pass that along promptly.
Rhode Island Monthly Magazine swings and...misses
The June 2018 Rhode Island Monthly Magazine ran a story, "Wade In the Water," written by Ellen Liberman, covering the proposed farm on Segar Cove. While we applaud coverage of this issue from any quarter, we take exception to the generally pro-industry bias demonstrated in this article. From the beginning, with covering illustration depicting unruly (and clueless?) water skiers disrupting the cheerful work of a group of aquaculturists, to the very end, where the applicant is given the final word, the article shows a lamentable (and yet predictable?) skew towards industry, giving very short shrift to the general community sentiment and mischaracterizing public objections to the infringement of public use rights as simple "nimby"ism. This misreads both the arguments being made (public use), and the people making the arguments (most are NOT waterfront property owners.)
A link to the article online could not be found, but you can read a copy HERE.
Hanging Chads Dept.:
The RI Marine Fisheries Council met on Wed., March 13, 2018, to consider the proposed Potter Pond lease. Comments were heard and considered from the applicant, individual Council members and members of the public, after which time the Council voted. The results were stunning: A SPLIT DECISION, with 3 votes opposed, and 3 votes in favor, which is to say the Council voted to make NO recommendation to the CRMC.
As a practical matter, the impact of this vote is hard to quantify, but we here at savepotterpond.org consider this a clear victory for the opposition, as the expectation was for a vote in favor, and the split nature of the outcome is yet further indication of the community's strong feelings on this topic. The Council's conflicted vote mirrors the conflict the lease itself is presenting to other public uses of Segar Cove. The symmetry is hard to ignore.
Many thanks to all who took the time and trouble to attend the meeting and thanks, also, to the RI Marine Fisheries Council for its thoughtful deliberations and professional conduct of the meeting.
See the RIMFC's letter to the CRMC here.